It is no secret that my fondest wish of all is for my daughter and her family to move up here once she has completed her nursing degree. (She is doing beautifully and has shone during her first placement - I am so very, very proud of her.) This area has so much to offer. I count our friends here amongst my favourites, despite their being friends for a relatively short period of time. The sense of community here is so incredible. I can't imagine life elsewhere now.
Today, as I was having my hair done by the very lovely Iona, we were discussing the benefits of living in this part of Scotland. "If you want to be rich, this isn't the place to be," said Iona, "but it is the place you want to be if you just want to be happy." Amen, Iona. I still hear the news of the world that exists beyond these hills, the sea and lochs. What I hear makes me sad. I swear someday I will stop listening and just live in blissful ignorance.
But, my daughter is beginning to take my suggestions seriously. What else could she possibly want? Finding work as a nurse up here would probably be fairly easy to secure. My son-in-law could set up his own computer repair business and make a living at it. But more than that, Catherine would grow up with clean air, pure water, beautiful mountains, small classrooms, lessons in Gaelic and a sense of community she will not find elsewhere. It won't limit her prospects, though. I know of a young woman who grew up and was educated here and secured a place at the highly respected Glasgow School of Art. I would argue that being educated here, where the class sizes are small and the teachers are part of the extended family that makes up each community, would be a blessing and give a student a decided advantage. It is certainly the education I would want Catherine to have. Friends of ours here have little girls Catherine's age - she will have schoolmates whose parents are good friends and will, no doubt, become good friends with my daughter and son-in-law as well. Tonight, when I spoke to Caroline on the phone, she was more than showing interest. She said she would like for them to come up in July for a visit. How lovely that would be! (I think Catherine may be as excited about coming here as we are - I told her it was just nine more sleeps until they come up and she quite literally screamed "yay" - my ears are still recovering!)
So, I will continue with my quest to bring them here. I'm not sure how they are going to be able to resist. I mean, how's this for a morning sunrise?
We shall be busy over the next 10 days. Four more Christmas events in which to participate and some social engagements as well. But, like Catherine, I am counting the sleeps until they are here. Our Christmas will be a great one - including a Skype session with my mother on Christmas Day. How I wish she could come here and spend the holiday with us. But we will have to settle for Skype instead. I have sent her a box of presents, all sourced from the talented folk who live up in this remarkable part of the world. I shall enjoy watching her open her box to find all the goodies inside.
To all of you, I wish you a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. Or, as they say up here, Nollaig chridheil agus Bliadhna mhath ur!